Ombudsman slams public hospitals over transfer of patients' records

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 June, 2014, 2:39am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 June, 2014, 2:49am

The Ombudsman has slammed the length of time taken for patients' medical records to be transferred from public to private doctors, saying it could delay treatment and harm patients.

Of 50 cases that the Ombudsman looked into, one took as long as five months.

"Every second counts," warned Ombudsman Connie Lau Yin-hing.

The Hospital Authority has two systems for the transfer of patients' records to private doctors: one takes 14 days and the other takes 40 days.

An inquiry showed that problems arise when an "episode number" - the code public hospitals give a patient for each visit - gets mixed up or reused for a different patient.

In such cases, the authority's computer system puts up a "yellow flag", delaying the transfer of records until the patient's identity can be verified.

A Hospital Authority spokesman said all records with a "yellow flag" had now been cleared and a working group had been set up to improve the flagging system. This included refining the data-verification process.